Birds upend Amakhosi in first Swallows-Chiefs derby since 2015
It seemed as if Kaizer Chiefs were on course to tough out a second away draw in succession to show signs of grit under new coach Gavin Hunt, but debutant substitute Joseph Mhlongo had other ideas with an 86th-minute strike to earn Swallows FC a 1-0 DStv Premiership win.
The first Swallows-Chiefs Soweto derby since the Birds' relegation in 2015, and subsequent plunge to the fourth division, then revival under Panyaza Lesufi and David Mogoshoa, ended in triumph to the Birds at Dobsonville Stadium on Tuesday night.
It is a measure of the extent to which the aura Chiefs once possessed has dissipated in their five seasons without a trophy that last season's runners-up came into the game with one league win - now from five matches - while the rookies had managed two wins (now three) and two draws.
Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt had said he was much disappointed with his team's 2-2 away draw against Lamontville Golden Arrows in Durban on the weekend.
But he must have seen some signs of encouragement in a tougher all-round performance from his team, where they also scored their first two Premiership goals (by a Chiefs player), because Hunt retained the 3-5-2 formation, and personnel within it, in his XI.
Promoted Swallows had started life in the PSL with disciplined performances and coach Brandon Truter's combination seemed sure to stretch Chiefs.
They did. Chiefs had to work hard for the yards on the Dobsonville surface. For Amakhosi's endeavours, they received 85 minutes that displayed the sort of grit no-frills Hunt wants to see in his teams, but conceded the late goal and all three points.
The first half was the kind of grind that has little attraction to supporters, but might have had Chiefs' notoriously no-frills coach inwardly relatively satisfied.
Swallows closed out to no chances, and Hunt's team striking the post from one of their two real opportunities is the kind of statistic that makes for an unappealing match on the eye, but on balance of statistics should yield results.
It took until the 44th minute for Amakhosi to engineer that chance. Lebogang Manyama fed Khama Billiat on the right inside Swallows' area, who teed up Leonardo Castro out wide. Manyama failed to connect in the middle, the ball falling to Philani Zulu on the left, who cracked a shot onto the crossbar.
Chiefs' second half-chance of the first 45 minutes came two minutes into added time, as Manyama's awkwardly struck free-kick was parried by Virgil Vries, ricocheted onto Maphoko Seabi, and was touched over by a falling Daniel Cardoso. Chiefs' centreback, though, was adjudged to have fouled goalkeeper Vries.
The second half saw plenty of effort in industry from both sides, but with even less final product in either goalmouth.
With the clock winding down Lebogang Mokoena crossed and Mhlongo, on for Ruzaigh Gamildien in the 74th, got in ahead of marker Kgotso Moleko and connected a flier past Itumeleng Khune with his knee.